The South-West security outfit named ‘Amotekun’ jointly established by the governors of the six states that make up Southwest Nigeria. They are Oyo, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti.
The idea came through three-day technical sessions by experts of Southwest origin. The idea was conceived out of the need to jointly tackle increasing criminal activities, including kidnapping and armed robbery, in the region.
Amotekun is the Yoruba name for leopards, a carnivorous big cat with strong bones and jaws. They have a running speed average of 58 kilometer per hour.
Leopards hunt down their preys in the same manner as lions and tigers. They are feared in Yoruba land because of their strength, speed and carnivorous nature.
The name was carefully chosen to convey the above attributes which are believed will send the right signals to criminals.
Membership and structure
Membership of the outfit comprises vigilante groups operating within each state, security experts and statutory security agencies such as the police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Though a regional outfit, each state will have its own Amotekun in the form of a state police command. They will operate from a given base in each state.
There will also be local government organs, which will coordinate Amotekun activities in each local government. But, the six state commands will relate with the regional command to which each has contributed vehicles equipped with security and communication gadgets.
The regional command will operate from the control centre in Ibadan, and will work closely with the DAWN Commission, which provides administrative supervision to the project.
Amotekun will be funded by the state governments with support from their security trust funds. The Commissioner of Police in each state will oversee Amotekun.
As at press time yesterday, governors and police bosses were still perfecting the document that will serve as the operational guidelines for the outfit.
While the governors were interacting on funding and management, commissioners of police and the three Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIG) in the region were firming up the technical aspects to prevent inter-agency rivalry and clashes over leadership and superiority among members during patrol and other operational activities.
It learnt that the states have recruited many of the unconventional security personnel.
As a local collaborative measure, Amotekun will gather information about crimes and suspicious activities for interpretation and proper action, including prevention, management or counteraction.
It will undertake routine patrols in parts of highways in the region, which police are unable to adequately cover day and night. Working with traditional rulers, its activities will also permeate local communities to keep an eye on suspicious residents, visitors and non-residents coming for business or related activities.
The outfit will deploy technology in its operations, including geographical mapping and security drones.
By gathering intelligence and sharing it with the police and other statutory security agencies, it is believed that these security measures will help improve community peace and security all over the region.
The inauguration of the outfit is expected to have sent jitters down the spines of criminals who have returned to their trade, particularly in Ondo State in the last one month.
The bandits may have explored the room created by the slight delay in the inauguration of the outfit, which was due since last October.
When contacted yesterday, the AIG Zone 11, Leye Oyebade, declined comment on the outfit. He said facts about it will be made know during tomorrow’s inauguration.
The Director-General, DAWN Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, was also unavailable for comments.
The Nigeria Police is a key stakeholder in Amotekun’s operations. The force will offer services in the area of security clearance for those to be recruited as members, exercise the legal power of arrest and prosecution and also provide technical training and back-up for the outfit.
OPERATION AMOTEKUN: Things You Need To Know About the New Western Security Scheme
1. Each state donated 20 vehicles each, making 120 Amotekun vehicles. The vehicles would be dispatched to the respective states.
2. The headquarters will be at Ibadan, Oyo State.
3. The size of the troops would be determined by what each of the six states had capacity for and based on the level of security threat.
4. Every state government will fund the troops in its state. It is the capacity of a state that will determine the size of troops it needs.
5. The idea behind Operation Amotekun is in a bid to localizing policing
Salary of personnel will not be below the minimum wage.
6. Their operation will be seamless. If something is happening near the Oyo border, the Ogun Amotekun can cross into Oyo and vice versa.